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Alabama announces nearly $7 million-per-year deal for Nick Saban 06.04.14 at 9:01 am ET
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The University of Alabama will do whatever it takes to keep Nick Saban on its sidelines. Now the university has given the coach nearly $7 million reasons to return each year.

Saban’s new eight-year, $55.2 million deal was made official Tuesday after a unanimous vote by the Alabama system trustees’ compensation committee approved the deal nearly six months after the university announced the agreement.

Saban, 62, will make $6.5 million a year in base pay along with a $400,000 completion bonus and other incentives.

Saban’s new contract is a significant raise from the eight-year, $5.6 million a year deal he received in March 2012.

“He is the best coach in the country and he’s brought Alabama back to the pinnacle of college football,” athletic director Bill Battle said in a statement released by the university. “His success on the field is obviously second to none, but coach Saban’s influence on academics and all the other areas of our athletic programs are equally impressive to me.”

Saban can still leave Alabama if he wants to, however, as he won’t owe a buyout if he leaves for another head coaching job.

Read More: alabama, nick saban,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: NCAA tables proposal to slow down football with 10-second rule 03.06.14 at 7:45 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Capitals at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Avalanche at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL: Blue Jackets at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL: Penguins at Sharks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Heat at Spurs, 8 p.m.. (TNT)
NBA: Clippers at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Villanova at Xavier, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Memphis at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Iowa at Michigan State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Charlotte at Marshall, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: LSU at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Penn State at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: George Mason at La Salle, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Hawaii at UC Santa Barbara, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Butler at DePaul, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: VCU at Richmond, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: UCLA at Washington, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: USC at Washington State, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

– The NCAA football rules committee on Wednesday tabled a proposal to slow down the game by instituting a 5-yard penalty for offenses that snap the ball before 10 seconds have run off the 40-second play clock.

The controversial proposal was widely criticized despite support from some high-profile coaches including Alabama’s Nick Saban, who claimed it would help protect players from injury. During the feedback period after the proposal initially passed on Feb. 12, 75 percent of the 324 comments the NCAA received opposed the change.

“What the committee agreed to do was table that proposal to allow time to gather more information from the medical community and allow time for a broader discussion for the implications of that change,” NCAA national coordinator of officials Rogers Redding told The Associated Press.

Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez, a harsh critic who went so far as to make a video mocking the proposal, noted that there was no factual evidence supporting the claim that players were at risk of injury.

“I don’t know where it goes from here, but I appreciate the rules committee realizing it was a mistake to put it out there right now,” he told the AP.

– The Revolution, who open the season Saturday night with a game at Houston, unveiled new jerseys at a media event this week.

The adidas jersey features a navy blue jersey with a large UnitedHealthcare logo and the team’s logo over the left chest, with red stripes on the shoulders. On the back, the “Flag of New England” is centered between the shoulders.

“We’€™re very pleased with this design and are excited to begin wearing it,” Revolution president Brian Bilello said. “We worked with adidas to integrate some key design elements into the kit that are important to our club. For a long time, our primary kit has been solid navy, with only lesser red and white accents. We wanted this primary uniform to reinforce the region’€™s Revolutionary identity by having a greater balance of red, white and blue.

“The Flag of New England is also a key icon for our club, one which our supporters have been instrumental in growing. Unlike some teams that have their key icon or identifier on the ‘€˜jock tag’€™ on the lower seam of the jersey, we were insistent that the flag be very visible and somewhere that everyone could see. And there is no better place than right above the players’€™ names and numbers ‘€“ reminding everyone that they’€™re all part of New England.”

The players also will wear navy blue socks with thin white horizontal stripes.

– With New Jersey showing that a cold-weather city can be a successful Super Bowl host, other cities are looking at their options. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking a look at the possibility of expanding Soldier Field, partly in an effort to improve his city’s chances.

“It’s an exploration to see what, if anything, is possible,” an Emanuel spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune.

Soldier Field, the smallest stadium in the league, seats 61,500. The NFL’s preferred minimum for a Super Bowl is 70,000.

“We’ll work with that footprint. It’s all a process,” Emanuel said last month, indicating that he thought a Super Bowl would “be good for the city and good for the NFL.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 6, 1986, which Bruins forward recorded his 600th NHL point with two goals in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Nordiques at Boston Garden?

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Read More: New England Revolution, nick saban, Rahm Emanuel, rich rodriguez
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: With Alex Rodriguez in New York, Yankees open spring training under cloud 02.13.13 at 7:40 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Bulls at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Rockets at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Wake Forest at Boston College, 7 p.m. (NESN: WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Nebraska at Indiana, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Miami at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Syracuse at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Central Florida at Memphis, 8 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
College basketball: West Virginia at Baylor, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Purdue at Illinois, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Providence at South Florida, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: North Carolina at Duke, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: San Diego State at Colorado State, 10 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
College basketball: Cal State Fullerton at Long Beach State, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oregon at Washington, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Blues at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Yankees manager Joe Girardi meets the media at spring training Tuesday in Tampa, Fla. (AP)

♦ With Alex Rodriguez rehabbing in New York, the Yankees opened spring training in Tampa, Fla., insisting that A-Rod’s latest PED scandal won’t divert their focus from the task at hand.

“I don’t think I’ve ever really come to a Yankee camp where there hasn’t been something that people might call a distraction,” manager Joe Girardi said. “This club’s used to it.

“A lot of times, it’s a two-day event, a three-day event, then the story kind of goes away. It may change for a day or two, but there will be something else that comes up that we’ll have to deal with. Him being in New York has nothing to do with trying to get rid of a distraction. It’s the best place for him to be.”

Added pitcher CC Sabathia: “We’ve dealt with a lot around here since I’ve been here, and this is my fifth year. It’s been a lot to deal with, but you learn to be a professional and go out and do your job.”

Catcher Francisco Cervelli, also linked to the controversial Biogenesis clinic in South Florida that allegedly prescribed PEDs to a number of major leaguers, is slated to address the issue publicly Wednesday.

“Of course that can weigh on his mind, but it’s a distraction that he’s going to have to block out to be able to perform,” Girardi said of Cervelli, who is competing for the starting catcher’s job. “There are other things that come up in a person’s life that can be distracting if you let them be. In a sense, this is a test for him, how he’s able to block this out.”

♦ Four University of Alabama football players were arrested and face charges for their involvement in two violent assaults and robberies of fellow students Monday. According to the police report, linebacker Tyler Hayes, safety Eddie Williams and running back Brent Calloway admitted their participation in the crimes that allegedly also included defensive lineman D.J. Pettway.

The players are said to have punched and kicked the victims, knocking them out, before stealing their wallets and at least one computer. The players then used a stolen credit card to buy snacks from vending machines in a dormitory.

The players, all backups, were suspended by the team, which is coming off its second straight national championship.

“This behavior is unacceptable for any student-athlete at the University of Alabama and not representative of our football program,” coach Nick Saban said in a statement.

♦ The 21-year-old son of Celtics legend Larry Bird was arrested Sunday after allegedly trying to run over his ex-girlfriend with his car. Conner Bird, a student at Indiana University, is accused of throwing a cell phone at the woman and then driving his car at her during an argument.

Bird faces preliminary charges including intimidation with a deadly weapon, battery with injury and possession of marijuana.

“It is a private matter we are hoping to resolve as quickly as possible,” said Bird’s attorney, John Tompkins. “We are happy no one was seriously hurt.”

♦ The international Olympic Committee voted Tuesday to drop wrestling starting with the 2020 Games. Wrestling was voted out from a final group that included modern pentathlon, taekwondo and field hockey, accordion to an Associated Press report.

Eliminating one of the 26 sports allowed the IOC to add a new sport later this year. Wrestling can attempt to be reconsidered for inclusion, but it faces an uphill battle, competing with seven other sports also hoping to be in the 2020 Games: baseball/softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu (martial arts).

“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling, it is what’s right with the 25 core sports.”

Wrestling, which includes freestyle and Greco-Roman events, has been held in every modern Olympics, starting with the Athens Games in 1896. There were 344 wrestlers at least year’s London Olympics, competing in 11 medal events.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 13, 1985, the Bruins fired coach Gerry Cheevers. Who replaced him for the remainder of the season?

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Joe Girardi, Larry Bird, nick saban
Nick Saban’s daughter sued for sorority fight 07.12.12 at 2:35 pm ET
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The daughter of Alabama football coach Nick Saban is being sued by one of her sorority sisters after the two got into a fight after a night of drinking on Aug. 28, 2010.

Kristen Saban and her sorority sister Sarah Grimes got into a fight while playing a drinking game when Saban posted something on Facebook saying that no one liked Grimes, according to the lawsuit. Grimes suffered a concussion, an increase in migraine headaches, had nasal surgery and received psychological help as a result of her injuries.

“As a result of the beating and the head injuries Sarah Grimes sustained by Kristen Saban, Sarah has had repeated night terrors, anxiety, physical trembling, fears of dying from brain injuries, trouble sleeping, and intrusive recollections of the event,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit, which seeks for a reported $10,000, doesn’t mention the football coach, and his daughter hadn’t filed a response on Thursday.

Grimes’ lawyer, Stephen Strickland, said the lawsuit was “a private matter.”

Read More: alabama, nick saban, Rumor Mill,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Ex-Patriot Heath Evans says Nick Saban ‘showed no human emotion’ for injured player 12.07.11 at 8:05 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Flyers at Sabres, 7:30 p.m. (Versus)
College basketball: Central Connecticut at Michigan State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Arizona at Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Xavier at Butler, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Nick Saban has been a success in the college ranks but struggled in the NFL with the Dolphins. (AP)

♦ Former Patriots running back Heath Evans related a story to a Miami radio station that does not paint a flattering picture of University of Alabama coach Nick Saban. Evans was in Dolphins training camp in 2005 when Saban was in his first year as Dolphins coach. Evans said teammate Jeno James collapsed after a practice, “vomiting all kids of stuff that would make a billy goat puke, eyes rolled in the back of his head.” As Evans and teammates attended to James, Saban walked by, stepped over the convulsing player, and, without a word, continued on and headed upstairs. James was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Recalled Evans: “Saban calls a team meeting about 10:30 that night, comes down and says, ‘You know, the captain of the ship can never show fear or indecision, we’ve always got to have an answer, and so I had to go upstairs, that’s why I walked over Jeno like that, I had to collect my thoughts and decide what’s best for our team.’

“And I’m thinking to myself, I think along with Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas and Yeremiah Bell and all these other guys, going, ‘Did he, does he really believe what he’s just saying?’ He showed no human emotion for one of his best players. He literally stepped over him when four or five grown men are trying to carry Jeno to the training room.

“And at that point honestly, you know, I was only there, you know, for seven weeks of that football season before he cut me, and let me say this: That was the best thing that ever happened to my career, because obviously A) they had to pay me, and B) Bill Belichick picked me up and I learned more football than I ever thought I’d know – but that deciding moment kind of right there of how Nick Saban handled that, I think it always showed the team that ultimately he doesn’t really care about any of us players.”

♦ There has been speculation that Los Angeles has been trying to lure the Vikings from Minnesota. On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Vikings, speaking at a hearing before state legislators, said another U.S. city has contacted the team in the past year about relocating, but he did not reveal the name. “We would let that city speak for themselves,” vice president of stadium development and public affairs Lester Bagley said. “I don’t think it’s out place to say who it is.”

Meanwhile, the Vikings announced that thousands of tickets remain unsold for two upcoming games, putting their 142-game sellout streak (including preseason, regular season and playoffs) in jeopardy.

♦ Despite witnesses coming forward to say Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh was driving recklessly when he crashed his car into a tree early Saturday morning in Portland, Ore., police there said Tuesday they do not plan to further investigate the incident, which did not lead to a citation for Suh. Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson said that because the crash did not involve an intoxicated driver, traumatic injuries or vulnerable road users, it does not meet the department’s investigation criteria.

♦ Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide is retiring after calling Dwight Howard following a night of drinking and pleading with the center to stay in Orlando. Vander Weide acknowledged making the 1 a.m. phone call, admitting he “maybe should have waited until the morning. … Maybe Dwight thought it was inappropriate to talk business after a couple of glasses of win.” Alex Martins was promoted from president to CEO to take Vander Weide’s place.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 7, 1978, the Red Sox traded Bill Lee to the Expos for which player?

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bob Vander Weide, Dwight Howard, Heath Evans
Broken Branches on Belichick Coaching Tree 11.24.09 at 1:32 am ET
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A week ago, Bill Belichick was not in the most cheerful of spirits after his failed decision to go for a fourth-and-2 from his own 28-yard line. Now, seven days later, Belichick can sit back in his office in jollier spirits after the Patriots overpowered Rex Ryan’s Jets, 31-14, in a Sunday afternoon showdown in Foxboro.

Yet, while Belichick may be able to put on a merry Monday morning quarterback face this week, a few of his former coaching pupils find themselves either in the losing column, on the hot seat or just plain out of work.

Since Belichick first became a head coach for the Cleveland Browns in 1991, there have been multiple coordinators, assistants, scouts and other personnel who have sought to create their own legacy to follow in the footsteps of their great mentor. Although some have fared better than others since leaving Belichick’s staff, the majority of his coaching family tree has experienced a degree of difficulty making the transition from acting behind-the-scenes to manning a franchise of their own. Here is a look at how the five most prominent graduates of Belichick’s Coaching Academy have performed since departing from their teacher.

Charlie Weis

When Belichick left the Jets to be named head coach of the Patriots in 2000, Weis followed him from New York to New England. Serving as the offensive coordinator until 2004, Weis engineered the initiation of the Erhardt-Perkins offensive system. Assisting in Tom Brady‘s development as the franchise quarterback, Weis helped guide the team to three Super Bowl titles before leaving the Patriots to take over as Notre Dame head coach in 2005. Since then, Weis has not enjoyed the same success as he did in New England. With a 35-26 mark and a 1-2 record in bowl games, Weis has recently come under massive scrutiny, allowing many to speculate that his days as the Fighting Irish coach could be numbered. Indicating a 6-5 record was not good enough when he replaced Tyrone Willingham, Weis has already stated he would not argue with a firing if that is the end result.

Eric Mangini

Hired as the Patriots defensive coordinator in 2005 after serving as the defensive backs coach, Mangini left New England for the Jets in 2006. Accepting the job Belichick had turned down seven years earlier, Mangini instantly became Belichick’s nemesis, causing their relationship to sour. From avoiding postgame handshakes to refusing to acknowledge each other’s success, these two coaches spiced up a rivalry for three years. Referred to as “Fredo” (the disloyal son in “The Godfather”) by Patriots defensive lineman Ty Warren, Mangini opened the door for New England fans to detest him even further after accusing Belichick of recording the Jets’ defensive signals in 2007 during the infamous Spygate incident. In his three years overseeing the Jets, Mangini struggled, including a late-season collapse in 2008 that ultimately cost him his job. Mangini’s tenure in New York ended with a 23-25 record along with a 2006 AFC wild card playoff loss to the Patriots.

Now guiding the Browns, Mangini’s coaching career has gone from bad to worse. With a 1-8 record in the first year of a three-year deal, Mangini has drawn criticism for his strict coaching mechanisms and his inability to earn respect from his players.

Romeo Crennel

Winning three Super Bowls as defensive coordinator with the Patriots from 2001-04, Crennel was unable to carry his success over to the Browns. As Browns coach from 2005-08, Crennel failed to deliver a playoff berth, compiling a 24-40 record in four seasons. Entering 2008 with high expectations after a 10-6 2007 season, Crennel watched his young, talented team fall to a 4-12 record that led to his firing at year’s end, making way for Mangini to take over. Even though he is currently unemployed as a coach — opting to sit out this year while recovering from hip surgery — Crennel still can be seen on Sundays — in Coors Light commercials, that is.

Josh McDaniels

Starting out as a personal assistant with the Patriots in 2001, McDaniels assumed several coaching roles with the Patriots before becoming offensive coordinator in 2006. Agreeing to take over in Denver following the Mike Shanahan firing, McDaniels wasted no time sparking controversy in his new organization.

After reports were leaked indicating McDaniels had tried to aquire Matt Cassel from the Patriots to serve as his quarterback, an offended Jay Cutler requested a trade from the Broncos. The disgruntled quarterback was eventually dealt to the Bears.

The bickering did not end there. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall demanded to be traded during training camp after clashing with McDaniels. While McDaniels only suspended Marshall instead of granting him his request, he seemed to temporarily calm the storm as the Broncos began the season 6-0, including a Week 5 defeat of the Patriots by an overtime score of 20-17. With Denver having lost four straight since then, many wonder if McDaniels finally has become exposed. With the Broncos set to host the Thanksgiving night game against the Giants, only time will tell.

Nick Saban

In 1995, Saban was named defensive coordinator of the Browns under Belichick. After a successful tenure with Louisiana State University when he led the Tigers to a 2003 BCS national championship and was named the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, Saban started his NFL head coaching career following the 2004 season, when he agreed to fill the Miami Dolphins‘ vacancy. In his two seasons with the franchise, Saban showed he had difficulty transitioning between the collegiate and professional level, going 15-17 before leaving the Dolphins to return to college. His decision to do so generated a significant degree of controversy. For the past three seasons, Saban has coached the Alabama Crimson Tide, who are 11-0 and ranked No. 2 in the AP poll behind the University of Florida.

While Saban’s college history is decorated, his NFL career — like those of many of the Belichick coaching progeny — is remembered only for its mediocrity and controversy.

Read More: alabama, broncos, Browns, Charlie Weis